House slippers required for this competition
JAPAN NEWS-YOMIURI / 2012
Yamaguchi’s slipper table tennis tournament is expected to return this month after a four-year hiatus due to COVID-19. Yamaguchi players displayed their skill and sense of whimsy in 2012 while wielding a slipper in costume.
YAMAGUCHI >> It’s been a long, four-year wait, but Yamaguchi’s slipper table tennis tournament is expected to return this month after repeated cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a game of slipper table tennis, often held in hot spring resorts around the country, players hit the ball with a house slipper instead of a paddle.
The Yuda Onsen hot spring in Yamaguchi began hosting contests in 2012 as a campaign by inn proprietresses to address declining guest numbers.
In 2019, 180 pairs of players from Yamaguchi and beyond competed in doubles divisions for beginners and experienced players. Sayaka Hirano, who won a silver medal in the women’s table tennis teams event at the 2012 London Olympics, was a participant. Players engaged in heated competitions while dressed in unique costumes of anime characters, hula dancers and more.
The city of Yamaguchi is hometown to table tennis star and three-time Olympic medalist Kasumi Ishikawa, who announced her retirement in May. According to locals, the competition in their city was inspired by Ishikawa’s silver medal win at the 2012 London Games, so they are hoping that she will attend this year’s event.
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